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In this video, you will create an outline for your paper.

To do this, you will use a bulleted list to organize your main points in the order you will cover them in your paper.

As you outline, you will also write the main point of your essay, called a thesis statement and craft beginning sentences for your paragraphs, called topic sentences.

If you write an essay from start to finish without planning, your draft will lack clarity and organization.

It provides structure and helps you include all of the important points.

It also keeps you focused as you write, so you don’t include irrelevant information or repeat points.

You may have outlined other writing projects on paper before.

Once you have written your outline in a digital document, you can share it with others to collect feedback.

And you can keep adding to your outline to turn it into a full draft of your paper.

To get started outlining, open your brainstorming document.

If you don’t have a brainstorming or notes document, open a new one.

Go to and open Google Drive.

Create a new, blank document.

Create a section for your outline.

Type “Outline,” and change the heading style to match the other headings in your document.

Then, update your table of contents to reflect the new heading.

A clear thesis states the main points you will write about in your paper, in order.

You may revise and refine your thesis several times as you work on your paper, so don’t worry about making it perfect right now.

At the top of your outline section, type a sentence that describes what your paper is about.

You will refer back to this thesis statement as you write your outline, so make it easy to read.

To do this, highlight the text.

Then, make the font larger.

You could also bold your thesis statement or change the color.

Next, outline the paragraphs for your paper under the thesis statement.

To do this, make a bulleted list.

Type what your first paragraph will be about as the first bullet point.

A good way to organize points in a paper is from most to least important.

Next, add the specific points you will write about in that paragraph as sub-points in your outline.

These might include evidence from your research, direct quotes, or details that support your topic sentence.

Add several bullet points under each main point in your outline.

To make a sub-bullet under a main bullet point, press Tab.

Add bullet points and sub-bullets for topic sentences and supporting details until you have covered all of the points for your paper.

Then, read through your outline.

Make sure you..

If a point doesn’t fit with your thesis, you can change the bullet point or modify your essay’s main idea.

To change the order of your points, cut the text and paste it into another section.

This example uses a bulleted list, but you may find other ways to organize your outline.

You could create a concept map in Google drawings...

...or you could create your outline in Google Slides.

Writing an outline is like making a plan for your paper.

Including your research in a well-developed outline saves you from some reorganizing and rewriting later.

You can use outlines to organize all kinds of writing projects, like short stories or novels.


  1. Use a bulleted list to draft an outline of your paper.
  2. Type the main idea of each paragraph — or full topic sentences — as bullet points.
  3. Add sub-bullets for supporting points and evidence.